Covid-19 is bringing new and varied challenges into the day-to-day business operations of companies around the world on an unprecedented scale. It can be said that no other situation in living memory has presented such a challenge. The companies with the agility and resilience during the next few months will become apparent compared with unprepared competitors. Companies utilising EDI and other forms of electronic messaging are the ones which will have the ability to adapt their business operations to meet the adverse changes in the markets in which they operate.
EDI technology has been around for over 35 years and many companies have already invested in a piecemeal approach, implementing partial EDI solutions to streamline individual processes or specific procedures. Other companies have implemented a more tactical approach connecting with relatively few business partners, choosing those that insist on the implementation of EDI as a term of business. Whether piecemeal or tactical, EDI provides the means to communicate with business partners with less reliance on manually intensive processes or human intervention.
Companies deploying full systems integration, using EDI with the IT systems and infrastructure of their business partners, are better positioned to align their business processes. In turn this reduces costs, risk and the time to respond to external business demands. It offers the opportunity to connect with a wider contingency of partners, adding layers of resilience across the supply chain, ensuring the continuity of the supply of raw materials, parts and products to fulfil customer orders and meet company targets.
Taking a step back in history, the postal strikes of 1971, brought on at the time by increasing inflation and worsening industrial relations over the previous decade, led to almost three months of severely reduced communications. The co-ordinated action brought companies relying on traditional letter-based communications and non-electronic forms of business transactions to an abrupt standstill. This, plus the strike in 1988, led to an urgent need for resilience and business continuity.
It was a turning point for many companies. Recognising the need for contingency and automation, significant investments were made in implementing reliable EDI technology solutions. Retailers wanted stock information to prevent out of stock scenarios. Suppliers needed to be sure invoices were reaching their customers. Piece by piece, entire supply chains were transferred across to using reliable electronic data solutions.
These investments continue today. In March 2020 Sky news reported 50% of businesses worldwide are now investing in new technology which removes the reliance on manual processes. This means the companies which are adopting EDI solutions are better placed to meet the challenges for the future. Covid-19 is a stark reminder of how companies must build agility and contingency into their supply chain operations, reducing and removing the reliance on the fragility of a human workforce and manual processes.
AdvanceFirst Technologies is a specialist in supply chain process automation ready to help any business connect with their business partners, even under the current adverse restrictions and difficulties. For more information please call 01932 230 024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.